Nipah virus deadlier than Covid-19 found in two species of bats in India

Pune - India has experienced four NiV outbreaks over the past 20 years.

By Web Report

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Published: Tue 22 Jun 2021, 1:04 PM

The Nipah virus (NiV), which is one of the pathogens in the WHO R&D blueprint list of epidemic threats needing urgent action, was found in two species of bats in Maharashtra, according to the findings of a study by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Bats with the virus were found in a cave in the popular hill-station of Mahableshwar in March 2020. In the absence of any medicines or vaccines, Nipah is seen as dangerous with high death rates. According to a newspaper report on Tuesday, while the Covid case fatality rate (CFR) is between one and two per cent in most Indian states, Nipah infection ranges between 65 per cent and 100 per cent.

Dr Pragya Yadav, the lead investigator of the NIV study, said none of the bat species in Maharashtra had previously shown exposure to Nipah. India has experienced four NiV outbreaks over the past 20 years. The first NiV infection was in Siliguri in West Bengal in 2001, followed by another in Nadia in the same state.

Kerala too saw two outbreaks in 2018 and 2019. Some Indian states and parts of Southeast Asia are considered potential hotspots for the disease.

‘Detection of possible Nipah virus infection in Rousettus leschenaultii and Pipistrellus Pipistrellus bats in Maharashtra, India,’ was published in the Journal of Infection and Public Health. The Pune institute did necropsy of ten bats of each species at its containment facility.


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